Holiday Gift Guide: The Partners

Shopping for that special someone? These games play well at great at two and are perfect for your best friend, your significant other, or even just that one player you know you can always count on when everyone else bails!


Claim

We just discovered Claim recently, and it’s quickly become one of our most-played games for 2.  If you want to learn more about it, definitely check out our Game in a Minute, but even quicker than that, Claim is a trick taking game where players will spend the first half of the game trying to win tricks to build the best hand for the second half of the game.  In the second half, you’ll try to claim (hah) majorities in at least 3 of the 5 suits in order to win.  Each suit has a special power that will constantly influence your strategy.  Claim is fast, portable, and highly playable!


SHŌBU

SHŌBU feels like an ancient game.  This gorgeously-austere abstract has surprisingly few actual rules, but allows for evolving strategies as players work to position and maneuver their stones in order to push all the opposing stones off one of the four boards.  SHŌBU does a lot with relatively little – making it an ideal game for newer players as well as those who are comfortable with advanced abstracts and are looking for something that feels somehow both familiar and new.  Want to know more?  Game in a Minute has you covered!


Skulk Hollow

2 player games tend to benefit a lot from asymmetry, and Skulk Hollow brings it in spades.  One player will take on the role of a massive Forest Guardian, while the other controls a clan of fox warriors who will clash with the Guardian in a pitched battle.  The foxes are cunning and fast, able to leap onto the Guardian to deal it damage and disable its attacks, but the Guardian is incredibly powerful, and no single fox will stand much of a chance against its might.

Pencil First really knows how to pull together a production, and Skulk Hollow is certainly no exception. All the meeples are unique and the art for all the creatures is fantastic.  Best of all, there are several Guardians in the game, and each one has unique powers and attributes.  For a gamer partnership that likes to go head-to-head, Skulk Hollow delivers a really unique experience every time!


Dice Throne (Season Two)

 

We recently covered Dice Throne in a Game in a Minute, and this head-to-head duel game continues to impress.  Each pair of Dice Throne characters features unique dice-driven powers, and strategies vary pretty widely between them.  Randomness plays a huge part, of course, but as you press your luck to get the sets you need to activate your powers, you might mitigate the randomness with each character’s unique deck of cards.  With great production and a wide variety of character pairs to collect, the second season of Dice Throne might make for a perfect gift for the gamer pair on your list!


Foothills

Inspired by Snowdonia (a delightfully thinky Euro-style rail-building game), Foothills is a surprisingly engaging game for 2, where each player will compete to make the most points by clearing land and building out a variety of rail lines.  Driven by an action-selection mechanism, the strategy of Foothills is all about gathering and spending resources efficiently, opening up rail lines at opportune moments, and making sure that you are building key routes before your opponent can manage it.  A little heavier than the other games on this list, Foothills is perfect for that gamer pair who likes a more strategic experience in a reasonably small package.

 

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